Clara B. Jones

Gender (Trouble)

for Judith Butler

The number of young black criminals in cities like Baltimore, NYC, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, L.A., & Detroit is likely to surge, and the black violent crime rate is increasing (both black on black and black on white).
A central thesis of Judith Butler's essay is that gender identity is a regulative ideal which fundamentally assists the norm of heterosexuality.
Can the category of gender survive the postmodern critique?
As of 2018, Colin Kaepernick's net worth was $20 million.
26% of black men in America are unemployed compared to all men (7.3%)
Nothing affects crime rates more than the number of young males  in a population.
National Anthem protests took Colin Kaepernick from star QB to the unemployment line.
The claim could be made that while the broad-category sweeps of modernity might have been liberatory at one point, by reacting against the particularistic way of thinking of earlier times, by the mid-part of the 20th century such moves were also beginning to be used to justify reactive positions.
Corey Menafee, a black dishwasher at Yale University, is out of a job after he used a broomstick to smash a stained-glass window portraying slaves carrying bales of cotton. He was tired of looking at a “racist, very degrading” image on the job.
Phil Knight, co-founder and current CEO Emeritus of Nike®, Inc., was ranked by Forbes® as the 28th  richest person in the world as of 2018.
The body can serve as a metaphor for theory, since the location which bodies possess replicates the kind of cognitive location which theories provide.
According to Butler, it is the very belief in gender identity as a core unity which causes our sexual orientation.
Are coherent theory and politics possible within a postmodern position?
It may well be a woman, male-identified, who desires another woman, or a man, female-identified, who desires another man, and it may also be a woman, male-identified, who desires a man, female-identified, or similarly, a man, female-identified, who desires a woman, male-identified. One either identifies with a sex or desires it, but only these two relations are possible. This culturally-oppressive version of gender identity contributes to the heterosexual ideal.
10% of 8th grade black boys in the U.S.A. are considered “proficient” in reading compared to 46% of 8th grade white boys.
Phil Knight says, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Slavery is a postmodern trope, like John Wayne or Tyler Perry, fractured like Steuben glass at the factory for imperfections...color or clarity dooming the ideal form. You have never been in love, have you? But, you seduced the mechanic who changed your battery when your car stopped running on the Brooklyn Bridge. Last Thursday, Jamal told you only whores pleasure themselves though you don't believe it since you desired something once and lost everything.

Sonnet for Derrida

1. You are a magical thinker though Physics is your favorite subject.
2. 12% of negroes name their sons “Stonewall.”

3. You read “Sunday Morning” because Stevens was a broker.
4. Negroes have green feet.

5. You did not deserve it, but you took it anyway.
6. Black History Month celebrates the lives of starlings.

7. We grew rice in the Pearl River Delta, but no-one bought it.

8. You are trying to salvage Nature: doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2017.187
9. Life is more complicated than that...racemic, racecar, racetrack, Horace, brace, trace, embrace,
    grace, terrace, prance, raclette, ratchet, prance, clear, et cetera...

10. According to Derrida, Black & White are equal.
11. All know the way since Obama moved to Denmark.

12. Your poems are meta-racial signs of lust, and your father was a failed autodidact.
13. My mother hated grapes, my sister died holding wet laundry, and my brother is an Afrobot.

14. Oedipal regret explains everything though your book is a tribute to ants.


for Mary Elisabeth Johnson

I wanted to be
a leafcutter ant—
green as Cecropia fawning or
moss moisting—following
pheromones to a nest
orange with larvae, destined
to work for the common good.

I wanted to paint
inside a cave with sumac
blood—red stains on
my arms following the arc
of a pony's neck or oxen rumps,
glowing like crepuscular light,
shadows framing Pleistocene
hooves—less or more than
art, supplicant to forest loam
sourcing ants and hominins
cold in winter though grateful
to harsh gods for river's thaw.

I wanted to bake
madeleines, thinking of
bare bodies and the smell
of foam—transporting me to
dreamworlds where hominins
play on moist gray days in
Spring, unburdened as inquilines
cared for by hosts in nests warm
as fiddleheads in sunlight at noon
on days meant for earthworms and
tadpoles—creatures of muddy realms
where microbes move in circles
under a microscope's clear eye.

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